The Company Car
by C. J. Hribal
Category: Fiction / General
402 pages; ISBN: 140006287X
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
The Company Car
C. J. Hribal
Random House, May 2005, $24.95, 402 pp.
Emil Czabek is coming home to celebrate with his six siblings the fiftieth anniversary of their parents. As he travels to the gala, Emil thinks back over the five decades together of Wally and Susan and prays he never ends up like them though his gut tells him he is a chip off the old block.
Emil reflects on his parents’ marriage on the It’s Your Marriage TV show to fleeing Chicago for the suburbs and fleeing the burbs for a Wisconsin farm. He thinks of all the failed get rich schemes that dad tried between children and how he always tried to protect his family, albeit fumbling at his efforts. Emil ponders if he is as big a bungler as his father was as he considers what to do about his aging parents and contemplates whether his spouse cheats on him between her triathlon events.
The family gathering for a special event makes for a fine drama that uses internal and external perspectives to provide the audience a deep look at an extended family especially the core parents and siblings through Emil’s filter. Emil is a terrific narrator who not only sheds light on his family, but his relationship with his wife as he sees things. At times the baseball size starting team can become overwhelming to keep score of especially when spouses and grandchildren come off the bench, but readers who appreciate an insightful character study that provides an interesting fifty year viewpoint with enjoy this perceptive tale.
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